I was in Dublin last weekend delving into family history and in the process passed through Phoenix Park where there stands a magnificent obelisk, allegedly the largest in Europe as it stands at 203 feet tall. It is most impressive.
The obelisk was designed by the architect Sir Robert Smirke and the foundation stone was laid in 1817. In 1820 it ran out of construction funds and therefore remained unfinished until 18 June 1861, long after the Duke was dead, when it was opened to the public. There were also plans for a statue of Wellesley on horseback but the shortage of funds ruled that out: perhaps just as well as it might not have survived 1922 et al.
There are four bronze plaques cast from cannons captured at Waterloo – three of which have pictorial representations of his career while the fourth has an inscription. The plaques depict ‘Civil and Religious Liberty’ by John Hogan, ‘Waterloo’ by Thomas Farrell and the ‘Indian Wars’ by Joseph Kirk . The inscription reads:
- Asia and Europe, saved by thee, proclaim
- Invincible in war thy deathless name,
- Now round thy brow the civic oak we twine
- That every earthly glory may be thine.